CryptoZoo, is a “really fun game that makes you money,” according to Paul, launched in September 2021 with Binance Smart Chain. Utilising OpenSea for egg NFTs bought with Ethereum, the app is a Pokémon-inspired trading game in which users purchase eggs, hatch them, and then breed hybrid animals to earn $ZOO tokens. As Paul originally promoted it to fans, his game was supposed to let you “breed” your own NFTs like pets, starting with eggs priced at 0.285 ETH (around $340 today).
But one month after the official launch on October 7, 2021, the developers announced they were splitting from CryptoZoo and began work on their own version, ZOO Labs. On “Hatch Day,” November 3, 2021, the eggs opened to reveal not “exotic hybrid animals” but stock images of random animals like cats, penguins, and reindeer. So, for months, the players investing thousands into the app, just stared at an image of a digital egg while losing money.
A year later, at the end of 2022, Stephen Findeisen, a YouTuber who investigates crypto scams, Coffeezilla, released a three-part series on CryptoZooalleging numerous business malpractices. Well, the game hasn’t been at all successful: the ZOO token has plummeted roughly 89% in the past year, according to PancakeSwap data. And Findeisen spoke with people who claim to have collectively lost nearly $600,000 on CryptoZoo purchases. There has also been scarce activity across CryptoZoo blog and Instagram recently, which is usually the sign of abandonment. The only thing posted on their Twitter account in months was the link to Logan Paul’s response to Coffeezilla on YouTube (now deleted). Paul then published a video where he denied that he ever scammed anyone through CryptoZoo and argued that Findeisen published a “defamatory hit piece” knowing he was innocent. Also, Paul decided he wanted to take legal action, but then dropped the threats.
Although the conflict may seem resolved, it is far from it, and there are pretty serious allegations Paul can’t deny. Firstly, Logan’s team has stolen the tokens from all its V3 investors, while also lying to the public that he had paid the devs $1M. Zach Kelling, Zoo Labs’s CTO, claims he had a team of “50 engineers” working at a “$50,000 a week” burn rate to build the game and the blockchain tech necessary. And the developers were never paid the $1 million or given the 5 percent of the tokens they were verbally promised by one of CryptoZoo’s founders, Eddie Ibanez.
Ibanez was exposed in 2022 for claiming he went to MIT, worked with the CIA, along with other allegations. Even though Jeff Levin, another co-founder and Paul’s manager, was informed of Ibanez’s exposure before the CryptoZoo launch, Ibanez remained on the team. However, Paul in his response video doxxed and dragged out old arrest records of Zach Kelling, Zoo Labs’s CTO, who now wanted to sue Paul for setting him back years in his career before Paul removed the defamatory video.
Well, no one got paid, then how much money did the project make for Logan Paul? Here is when another CryptoZoo co-founder comes in – Jake “the CryptoKing” Greenbaum. Initially, he had the smallest investment, but the biggest idea: to “stealth launch” a presale for the $ZOO coin on July 11, 2021, and buy out the liquidity pool for a discount before Paul announced it to the public. On the day of the token launch, each founder stuck to the plan except CryptoKing, who bought $200,000 worth — double the amount Paul bought — multiplying his initial investment but tanking the value to $40 million. So, basically Logan Paul and Crypto King scammed each other in the end. Coffeezilla’s blockchain research shows that CryptoKing ended up making more than $6 million. And he totally admits he made “a few million” off the project, even though it never fulfilled promises to its users. Eddie Ibanez reportedly made around $1.7 million with his $ZOO, even though by July 2022, Eddie was out of the company.
Although Paul somehow believes that CryptoZoo has a future, Zach Kelling, who still has the original code, tweeted on January 4 that he’ll release CryptoZoo exactly as intended if Paul pays his bill. Which is unlikely to happen, right? If Paul really wants to hold on to the CryptoZoo project, he needs to reimburse money to all the victims, and only then follow the development timeline for the project. Of course, scams aren’t new in the crypto market, but instead of trying to save his reputation, Paul should be saving his accountability as entrepreneur.
History remembers one other blockchain animal breeding game called CryptoKitties that became legendary as the first game on the Ethereum blockchain. Right after the launch in 2017, the price of CryptoKitties NFTs skyrocketed, but today CryptoKitties is lucky to break 100 sales a day, generating roughly over $10,000. However, CryptoKitties plummeted not because the founder was a fraud and devs never got paid, but because a huge influx of users breeding cats diluted the rarity of each NFT, and because Ethereum had enormous gas fees at the time.